It’s no secret that empaths are gifted with an incredible ability to pick up on other people’s emotions. But over time this can lead to exhaustion.
So what can an empath do to put themselves first for once and start looking after their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing?
In this article, we’ll cover the importance of self-care for empaths and how to work it into your daily routine, in the hopes that you’ll find a healthy balance for your emotions.
What is an empath?
Do you find yourself crying along with friends who are in pain, or feeling deeply stressed when watching others in tough situations?
If so, you could be an empath. In terms of psychology, empaths can pick up on other people’s emotions and this can have a huge impact on their feelings.
It can be hard for empaths to make the distinction between what they feel and what other people are going through, but they’re much more than just ‘sensitive’.
They make wonderful friends as they have the unique ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes and fully understand how they might be feeling. They’ll laugh with you, cry alongside you, and most importantly, always be there to help.
But, as wonderful as being an empath is, they need to look out for themselves more than non-empaths do – otherwise, they risk becoming overwhelmed.
Why do empaths need to practice self-care?
Being so highly-attuned to other people’s emotions is without a doubt a blessing, but it can take its toll on an empath.
There are many ways in which empaths put others’ needs first, such as struggling to say no to people or going above and beyond to help everyone around them.
From taking in other people’s emotions to becoming burnt out and run down, empaths can end up struggling if they don’t look after themselves properly.
This can lead to empaths becoming irritable, exhausted, and even physically ill, so knowing how to take care of yourself is essential if you want to have a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
But don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds to get back in control of your life. Below are some of the easiest and most necessary tips that can help you practice self-care whilst embracing your natural gift as an empath.
12 important self-care for empaths tips to follow
1) Recognize whose energy you’re feeling
One of the most important things you can do to practice self-care as an empath is to be clear on the emotions you’re feeling.
Empaths are emotional sponges; you absorb the energy of other people and sometimes you might mistake it for your energy.
But, if you get into the habit of regularly checking in with yourself and reflecting on who you’ve been around, what mood they were in, and how you felt before you met them, you’ll slowly start working out what energy is yours.
2) Practice grounding
Grounding can be an incredibly powerful self-care tool for empaths because external forces have such a pull on you, so it’s necessary to pull yourself back in and clear your mind.
As explained by Balayoga, grounding can be a great way to deal with an overload of emotions or when you’re feeling stressed and run down:
“When you are grounded it allows you to be present, organize your thoughts, and grow in a way that is in alignment with your vision. When you are ungrounded you may feel frantic, stressed, in chaos, easily distracted, powerless, spacey, and unconnected to your body and life.”
And the great news is that grounding doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, so it’s easy to set up a daily routine.
Here are some of the things you can do to keep yourself grounded:
- Spend plenty of time outdoors – walk barefoot, swim in open water, or even lie down and enjoy the sun’s warmth
- Practice breathwork to help reconnect with yourself and calm down
- Move as much as you can – dance, yoga, exercise, whatever comes naturally to you. Our bodies need to expel energy and empaths, in particular, can benefit from moving daily to keep their energy levels balanced
- Meditate – meditation is a great way of being present in the moment and blocking out external distractions
- Get enough sleep at night – this will stop you from becoming exhausted and you’ll have more energy to focus on your wellbeing
By just implementing even one or two of these grounding steps into your daily routine, you’ll quickly see how it improves your mental and physical wellbeing.
3) Limit your social media time
Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch with friends or watching entertaining videos, but it can quickly start to drain your energy if you don’t control how much time you spend on it.
With such an overload of information all the time, it can easily become overwhelming and the fact that it’s so easy to access 24/7 means we never really switch off from it.
As an empath, you need to look out for your mental health and recognize when to put your phone, tablet, or laptop away.
A tip I find useful is to turn off notifications so that you can still check your favorite apps when you want to, but you won’t have constant messages and alerts pinging on your phone constantly.
4) Be open and honest with yourself
Before you can even begin to truly take care of yourself, you should start by acknowledging who you are and where your empath qualities have come from.
Some empaths experienced trauma as a child, either through shame or experiencing hurt and pain caused to others. This can create them to become highly empathetic and caring towards others.
On the other hand, many empaths will have had a trauma-free childhood, but it’s still important to acknowledge who you are. Be proud of who you are and don’t let the opinions of others sway this.
The sooner you do this, the quicker you can work out how to properly take care of yourself. It’s only with understanding and compassion that you can fully embrace who you are and how valuable you are in this world.
5) Make time to spend alone
It can be tough to be around people all day especially if you’re highly in-tune with their emotions, so make sure you take time for yourself.
Even if it means sitting in your car quietly or slipping out of work to take a walk during your lunch break, having this quality alone time will stop you from becoming overwhelmed with other people’s energies.
Plus, it’s a great way to check-in with yourself and you can even try some of the grounding techniques mentioned above.
Ultimately, you’ll know when you need some alone time, but it’s also a good idea to make space for it in your routine.
Life can get busy and it can be tough to find that alone time during your day, but if you plan it in you’ll find it easier to stick to.
So, don’t be afraid to let colleagues or friends know that at certain times of the day you need to be alone – simply explain that it’s how you recharge your batteries and regain your energy.
6) Visualize a protective shield
As much as this is a protective strategy, it can also be a great way to take care of yourself when you’re out and about.
For some empaths, it’s a case of imagining a protective bubble around them, or a shield or cloak of some sort.
The bubble represents the distance between your energy and theirs – it’s literally a separation technique to stop you from attracting all the emotions around you.
The point is, you can use your imagination to your advantage here. Whenever you’re exposed to lots of people, imagine this protective force around you and take comfort in the fact that it’s blocking out unwanted energy and emotions.
7) Have healthy boundaries in place
Boundaries are an essential way to self-care – it’s your way of staying in control of your life and setting limits for other people.
For example – friends or family whose energy strongly impacts you may be difficult to deal with, but once you put clear boundaries in place you’ll be able to manage your relationship with them.
An important part of having healthy boundaries is to be able to say “no” to things you don’t want to do.
And that includes putting yourself first and not feeling bad about it. As an empath, it can be an internal struggle between helping those around you and looking after yourself, but with boundaries in place, you can make the separation much easier.
According to PsychCentral, there are a few steps you can take to put boundaries in place:
- Work out which types of boundaries are needed for your life. Maybe you need to spend less time around people who drain you? Or more time on activities which give you an energy boost?
- Think before agreeing. Instead of automatically saying “yes” to everything, take a minute to think about whether you want to do it or not.
- Take a different approach. It’s helpful to put boundaries in place in a way that doesn’t hurt the people around you.For example, instead of saying “I can’t help you today”, you could say, “I want to help you, but unfortunately, I have a lot on my plate and I’m not in a position to help you yet”.Adding a touch of empathy can make putting boundaries in place much smoother and easier to understand for others.
Unfortunately, not everyone will respond positively to boundaries being set, especially if they’re used to having you at their beck and call.
The truth is, you need to do this for yourself. Without it, all other types of self-care go out of the window because you haven’t put measures in place for your happiness and emotional stability.
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8) Don’t be afraid to walk away
As simple as it might sound, simply walking away from negative energies or emotions that stress you out can make a massive difference to your wellbeing.
Forget what other people might think – you have the right to move away if someone’s negativity is spilling over into your body.
When we’re faced with dangerous situations the first thing we do is look for safety and move away from the danger.
Take the same approach when you deal with unwanted energies – even though they might not be physically dangerous they are still impacting your energy and bringing your mood down.
9) Make your home your safe space
Everyone’s home should be their sanctuary. It should be a calm, soothing space where you can relax and unwind.
As you’re so highly perceptive to other people, you need a safe space where you can recharge your batteries and feel comforted.
Here are a few tips for making the most out of your home:
- Declutter – a clean space = a clear mind
- Decorate with soothing colors and try to get in as much natural light as possible
- Use lavender oils or scented candles to create a relaxing atmosphere
- Have calming music at hand (use headphones if you live in shared accommodation).
When designing your sanctuary, it’s important to think about the things that you like. What are your hobbies? What makes you feel calm and what makes you feel energetic?
All these things can be incorporated throughout your house to make it the most relaxing place for you.
10) Remind yourself to be an observer
As an empath, it’s easy to get sucked into other people’s emotions so practice just being an observer to the situation.
Use the protective bubble vision mentioned earlier to create space between you and others, and remind yourself that you’re there just to watch.
Getting into this habit is a great way to start separating yourself from other people’s energies and you can easily do it when you’re at work, with family, or even just out shopping.
For example, when your colleague is grumpy and irritable, instead of becoming involved, remind yourself that, “I’m just an observer, he/she may have had a bad morning but it’s nothing to do with me”.
11) Put your wellbeing first
Self-care comes in many forms, but one of the best ways you can implement it into your daily life is to look after yourself first.
You have to invest in looking after your emotions, your physical health, and mental wellbeing, otherwise, it’ll be very easy for you to become burnt out and get bogged down with your feelings.
So, don’t forget to do these simple steps daily:
- Have good hygiene – not only will you feel good, but you’ll look better too
- Sleep a good amount every night
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
- Exercise regularly
- Spend as much time in nature as possible
- Read your favorite books or listen to songs that lift you up
Getting into this habit will make self-care become a normal part of your daily routine, and eventually, you’ll be looking after yourself without even realizing it.
12) Get creative
Empaths tend to be highly creative individuals, so the chances are you’ll benefit greatly from tapping into your creativity and making the most of it.
Whether it’s dancing, painting, or knitting, it doesn’t matter as long as it makes you feel good and releases built-up energy.
Not only does being creative allow you to connect with yourself on a deeper level, but it’s also fun. It’s a great way to unwind, free yourself of limitations and expectations, and just be you.
The importance of daily self-care
Now, I can imagine some of you are reading this thinking, “when will I ever find the time for all that?”.
It seems like it’s a lot to do, but actually, most of these steps are so small that with time and practice, you’ll begin to start doing them naturally.
Think about it – boundaries may be tough to put in place in the beginning, but once you’ve done the hard work you don’t need to do much else except upholding those boundaries.
Spending time alone and practicing grounding can easily be worked into your daily routine, as well as putting your health and wellbeing first.
The key to it all depends on you and how much you want to take care of yourself. Just know one thing, no one else is going to do it for you, so don’t feel ashamed and hesitant to put yourself first.
So, my advice would be to slowly start adding in one or two points a day into your routine until it starts to flow naturally.
Just doing it sporadically won’t make much of a difference to your life, and the best type of self-care comes from doing it before you become overwhelmed or overloaded.
With that in mind, work out the areas that you want to implement into your lifestyle, set goals as to what you want to achieve, and finally – stop delaying it and get on with it.
You’ll notice the improvements almost instantly, and by building up this self-care routine, you’ll end up feeling much more resilient, rested, and prepared to face the world.